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My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.
|Sports writers are, occassionally, among the most observant of political people. For whatever reason--be it that they spend their lives on the unimportant and the trivial, or because competition and warfare and supremacy are a standard part of their everyday lives--they seem to "get" some things better than others. |
Dave Krieger manages to prove that point pretty well in today's column.
China spared no expense in its first Olympic Opening Ceremonies and got what it paid for, boasting that 4 billion people - more than half the world's population - would watch the spectacle on TV.
Still, you couldn't help wondering if the whole gargantuan production at Beijing's striking new national stadium wasn't what New Zealand political scientist Anne-Marie Brady calls a campaign of mass distraction. She was referring not merely to the Opening Ceremonies, but to the Beijing Olympics as a whole. . . .
In fact, even as it decries the attempts of protesters to train the Olympic spotlight on Darfur or Tibet or child labor, China is itself using these Games to win acceptance on the world stage. . . .
"Beijing is about showing the world, and the Chinese people, a strong regime. The aftermath will be that the investment in stepped-up security and surveillance will be long-term and the regime will be more self-confidently repressive than it even was before."
It is a chilling prospect, one that American Olympic officials prefer to discount.
"Olympic Games open countries up. They don't close countries," U.S. Olympic Committee chairman Peter Ueberroth said this week. "So if there's any issue out there, and China is an enormous player on the world stage now, this country will be better for it."
That is the optimistic - some would say idealistic - view. Even as China offered up the most ambitious Opening Ceremonies in Olympic history, three American pro-Tibet protesters were being detained near the stadium. Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, had shrugged off Chinese suppression of dissent the day before, explaining that every Olympic host country has rules about protesters.
Good observations, all. And fairly mundane to those of us who have been paying attention; a trait that has been remarkably missing from the "professional" journalism class. But Krieger draws it all together very well, in the end.
Lomong declined several opportunities to express an opinion about China, enabler of the Sudanese regime that tried to kill him.
He didn't have to. Carrying the stars and stripes, he made it just a little harder for China's spectacular show to distract the world from the things it does when the television trucks are gone.
We can only hope that NBC bothers to tell the story of Joey Cheek, the Church in China, and Tibet in the process of blanketing the airwaves for the next two weeks.